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Close up of Eric Dane at the Bad Boys: Ride Or Die premiere© Getty

Grey's Anatomy star Eric Dane addresses ‘firing’: 'I wasn't the same guy they had hired'

The A-lister portrayed Dr. Mark Sloan for six years

Megan Bull
TV Writer
June 30, 2024
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Grey's Anatomy star Eric Dane has reflected on his 2012 exit from the hit medical drama. Appearing on the Armchair Expert podcast, the actor told Dax Shephard that he was "probably fired" after a six-year stint on the show. 

Eric – who portrayed Dr. Mark Sloan – noted that he had been "struggling" with addiction at the time of his departure and was "[expletive] up longer than I was sober" during his time on Grey's

Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan in Grey's Anatomy© Getty
Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan in Grey's Anatomy

"They didn't let me go because of that, although it definitely didn't help," he said 

"I was starting to become, as most of these actors who have spent significant time on a show, you start to become very expensive for the network. And the network knows that the show is going to do what it's going to do irrespective of who they keep on it. As long as they have their Grey, they're fine.

Eric Dane at the Euphoria premiere© Getty
The actor appeared on the show from 2006 to 12

"I wasn't the same guy they had hired. So I had understood when I was let go. And Shonda [Rhimes] was really great," continued Eric. "She protected us fiercely. She protected us publicly. She protected us privately… But I was probably fired. It wasn't ceremoniously like, 'You're fired,' it was just like, 'You're not coming back.'"

As fans of the show will remember, Eric's character, who held the nickname 'McSteamy' was killed off at the beginning of season nine. In a harrowing moment, Mark Sloan succumbed to injuries sustained in a brutal plane crash.

After nine years away from the show, however, Eric made a brief return to Grey's Anatomy in 2021. Reprising his role in a special episode which saw Meredith dreaming of all the people she'd loved and lost, the protagonist had a sweet reunion with Mark, as well as her sister Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh). 

"It was like I'd never left. It was a great day at the beach. It was great to see some of the familiar faces and same crew members, and we didn't skip a beat," Eric told Deadline of his cameo. "I love those people. I spent a significant portion of my life with those people, I'd do just about anything for them."

Eric Dane wearing a navy suit© Getty
Eric remains on good terms with his Grey's Anatomy co-stars

Noting that he remains on good terms with his co-stars, Eric said: "Well, I've maintained contact with a lot of the cast members. An answer somebody would give you, had they not, would've been I missed the people, but I'm still friends with all of them. So, there wasn't really anything to miss."

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